How to Start a Fire With Pumice and Lamp Oil


Utilizing pumice dipped in lamp oil to start a fire is an economical and reliable way to start a fire. Creating a fire starter of pumice and lamp oil dates back to when fires were the main source of heat for homes and fireplaces were the only way to cook. It's sometimes referred to as the Cape Cod fire starter and you can make your own. One bottle of lamp oil and one pumice stone attached to a steel rod can be used again and again.

Things You'll Need

  • Cast iron pot with lid
  • Lamp oil
  • Pumice stone on the end of a steel rod
  • Fill your cast iron pot with lamp oil approximately half full. This traditional vessel works well because it's heavy enough that it won't tip easily and has a large enough opening to allow for the pumice to be inserted and removed easily.

  • Dip your pumice stone in the lamp oil for two to three minutes. Pumice is a porous stone that easily absorbs enough lamp oil to burn for 10 minutes.

  • Light your pumice stone. One match will light the pumice soaked in lamp oil, so be sure to have a good grip on the rod.

  • Place the pumice in the fireplace. The flame will burn for approximately 10 minutes, enough time for seasoned wood to ignite without kindling or paper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leave enough room between the logs for air to circulate.
  • You can leave the pumice in the fireplace and remove it after the fire has burned out or remove it once the fire has started.

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